By Tuvia Friling
Eliezer Gruenbaum (1908–1948) used to be a Polish Jew denounced for serving as a Kapo whereas interned at Auschwitz. He used to be the communist son of Itzhak Gruenbaum, the main sought after secular chief of interwar Polish Jewry who later turned the chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Rescue Committee throughout the Holocaust and Israel’s first minister of the inner. In mild of the father’s excessive placement in either Polish and Israeli politics, the denunciation of the more youthful Gruenbaum and his suspicious loss of life throughout the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict upload intrigue to an argument that actually facilities at the query of what constitutes—and how will we evaluate—moral habit in Auschwitz.
Gruenbaum—a Jewish Kapo, a communist, an anti-Zionist, a secularist, and the son of a polarizing Zionist leader—became an emblem exploited through rivals of the events to which he used to be associated. Sorting via this Rashomon-like tale in the cultural and political contexts during which Gruenbaum operated, Friling illuminates key debates that hire the Jewish group in Europe and Israel from the Thirties to the Sixties.
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Additional resources for A Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz: History, Memory, and the Politics of Survival
They chose Eliezer. They may have hoped, as they did when they chose him as their representative at Beaune-laRolande, that the fact that he was the son of one of the leaders of Polish Jewry would given him added standing at the camp. Daniel Finkelkraut and Herman Freilich recommended Eliezer to Konczal —Eliezer was sleeping at the time. Konczal agreed and ordered that Eliezer be brought to him. His friends woke him, notified him that he had been chosen, and asked him to accept the post. The beatings he had taken at Auschwitz I made him realize that the job would be a dangerous one.
Their youngest son followed a short time later. indb 14 4/11/2014 2:48:56 PM 4 Spain, March 1938–1939 On March 3, 1938, Eliezer boarded a train at the Gare de Lyon, the huge and colorful train station on Paris’s east side. 2 Thousands of foreign nationals—intellectuals, writers, poets, romantics, and adventurers—were volunteering to fight on the Republican side. 3 Most of them were convinced that the war was an essential part of the rearguard battle that the forces of good in the free world were fighting against the Nazi-fascist tide.
The building housed the camp administration; the prisoners passed through the gate on the way to their deaths. Those selected to remain alive were housed in windowless rectangular wooden, or sometimes brick, barracks (in the women’s camp there were also brick structures). The only light came in from narrow slits in the roof, much like in stables. The roofs were covered with a thin layer of tar paper. indb 33 4/11/2014 2:48:57 PM water-soaked ground. In the summer the barracks were unbearably hot and filled with clouds of dust.
A Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz: History, Memory, and the Politics of Survival by Tuvia Friling